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King, Life, Mercy

We need to pay special attention, during this time of year, in order to ensure we do not make mistakes while praying. During the Ten Days of Repentance, from Rosh HaShana to Yom Kippur, there are many little changes in the text: Instead of "HaEl HaKadosh" (the holy G-d) we say during this time "HaMelech HaKadosh" (the holy King). Instead of "Melech Ohev Tzedakah uMishpat" (the King who loves righteousness and justice), we say "HaMelech HaMishpat". There are four more additions: "Remember us for life, oh King Who desires life, and inscribe us in the Book of Life, for Your sake, oh living G-d", "Who is like You, oh merciful Father, Who remembers His creatures for life with mercy", and "And inscribe to a good life all of those who sealed a covenant with You", and lastly: "May we be remembered and inscribed before You in the Book of life, blessing, peace and good livelihood, good decrees, rescue and consolations, we and all of Your nation Israel for a good life and for peace."
The recurrent, guiding words are: King, Life and Mercy. This is the essence of these days, but it is not just about the contents of the requests. These additions causes everyone to stop for a moment - it does so even for those who rush through the prayer by heart. It causes us to pay attention, to have a different attitude, to be more attentive and alert. We do not completely revise the Siddur now, but we refresh it, so to speak, for ten days. Perhaps this is the purpose of all these days of repentance: not only to make big revolutions, but specifically to pay attention to the familiar, the mundane; to have a second look at it, to perform small tiny changes in our routine.


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